To the Editor,
Re: City plans to remove two century-old dams, Nov. 1.
I am so amazed that there is such a sudden sense of urgency around removing the dams and surrounding park at Colliery Dam Park.
The truth is we don’t know when a seismic event will take place or its magnitude. Any loss of life would be tragic and it is our responsibility to ensure we minimize this from happening.
We must consider the quality of life prior to the seismic event taking place.
The park is used by the community constantly – people walking their dogs, the elderly using scooters, families picnicking, people of all ages fishing. It’s just a wonderful place to take a stroll and say hi to your neighbors and community.
We have an admitted ‘guesstimate’ by the city as to costs of removing or restructuring the dams. There has been no tender or cost estimate process by professionals – just a guess by a city employee.
However, we do have accurate figures by a long-time resident and contractor Bill Heathcote who worked on the Elsie Lake dam seismic restoration project near Port Alberni at a cost of $4.5 million – quite a difference from the city employee’s guesstimate.
The Elsie Lake dam is considerably larger than the Colliery dams and the cost included upgrades of adjoining spillways.
We have a great opportunity here to be proactive with a restoration of the dams, preserve the past history of Nanaimo and open the park to the world to see how we honour our beautiful green space while ensuring our citizens are safe.
This can be a teaching tool and example of how the citizens and their elected council can work together and achieve maximum results without destroying this amazing natural green space.
We also can show our citizens that they matter greatly and include them in the process, show them the respect they are due and allow proper public input.
We have to consider how much irreparable damage will occur if this goes through hastily without professional input into a best case scenario.